This will lift your spirits.
These photos of 14 Christian scenes sculpted out of sand are incredible works of art.
Go to Church Pop and have a look.
This will lift your spirits.
These photos of 14 Christian scenes sculpted out of sand are incredible works of art.
Go to Church Pop and have a look.
This could be huge news.
United States’ scientists have succeeded in turning cancer cells back into normal cells. So far, they have only done this with cells in a laboratory. But if they can turn cancer cells back into normal cells in the human body, the life-saving potential is enormous.
From The Telegraph:
Cancer cells have been programmed back to normal by scientists in a breakthrough which could lead to new treatments and even reverse tumour growth.
For the first time aggressive breast, lung and bladder cancer cells have been turned back into harmless benign cells by restoring the function which prevents them from multiplying excessively and forming dangerous growths.
Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, US, said it was like applying the brakes to a speeding car.
So far it has only been tested on human cells in the lab, but the researchers are hopeful that the technique could one day be used to target tumours so that cancer could be ‘switched off’ without the need for harsh chemotherapy or surgery.
“We should be able to re-establish the brakes and restore normal cell function,” said Profesor Panos Anastasiadis, of the Department for Cancer Biology.
“Initial experiments in some aggressive types of cancer are indeed very promising.
“It represents an unexpected new biology that provides the code, the software for turning off cancer.”
Planned Parenthood recently recognized 16 publishers for their efforts to promote “reproductive rights.”
These recipients of the Maggie Awards for Media Excellence evidently feel no embarrassment about receiving an honor from an organization that sells the body parts of babies that it has killed.
You can read the whole story at Live Action News, but here’s an unofficial list of those who got the award. Do you see any of your favorite publications?
From Live Action News:
Why would a pro life Catholic stay in the Democratic Party?
In my case, it was because, when I prayed about it, the direct and clear answer was that I had to stay. I didn’t understand it at the time. It was the exact opposite of what I expected, or at that moment in my life, wanted to hear.
But later on, I saw that God knew what He was doing. I was like a chess piece that someone moved into place for a design play and the play would only work if I was a Democrat.
Maybe God trusted me by leaving me in the lion’s den, trusted me not to cut and run, not to go all rubbery and waffle. Maybe He simply gave me an opportunity to make good the things I’d done wrong in my past. I only know that the way He used me was an extra measure of forgiveness that I did not deserve.
The point is that you can serve God from anywhere. You just have to be willing to do what He tells you, and then take the incoming flak for doing it.
I wrote about these issues for the National Catholic Register.
Here is a bit of what I said:
… That is the cautionary side of the story concerning Arkansas Representative Mike Holcomb. Representative Holcomb split with the Democratic party this week by changing his registration from Democrat to Republican. When you or I change parties, it’s just a matter of changing a letter on the voter ID. But when Representative Holcomb does it, he’s switching his entire House district, right along with himself. The next election will determine how his constituents feel about this.
Representative Holcomb’s reason for doing this this makes a lot of sense to any pro-life Democrat — he can no longer sit on the side of abortion. The Arkansas Democrats’ position on funding for Planned Parenthood is said to have triggered the move.
Arkansas Ds have been quick to announce that, so far as they are concerned, Representative Holcomb’s departure from their column is good riddance to bad rubbish. Their public statements are a classic case of “don’t let the doorknob hit you in the you-know-what on your way out.”
It’s easy for someone like me to read between these broadly-drawn lines to the personal acrimony and anger behind them. One article I read said that Representative Holcomb has been caucusing with the Rs, anyway.
I don’t know of course, but I can extrapolate from my own experience to what seems like an understanding of the name-calling, verbal hazing and threats that led to this situation. It can get ugly inside those caucuses, especially when one member paints a bulls-eye on themselves by refusing to do the due on something as explosive as abortion.
Nobody outside the inner world of elected officialdom can imagine just how personal and ugly the pressure can be on a pro-life elected Democrat.
Thousands of pro life people protested at Planned Parenthood clinics around the country. It appears that Congress may have a spot of trouble keeping the lid on this long enough to use it for a campaign issue.
If pro life people — who are a big part of the majority party’s electoral base — continue pushing, Congress might actually have to do something more than hold hearings and speechify.
From the Washington Post:
Thousands of antiabortion activists descended upon Planned Parenthood clinics on Saturday to participate in a nationwide protest aimed at cutting off federal funding for the controversial health-care organization.
The demonstrations unfolded at about 320 clinics around the nation, according to organizers, with some gatherings drawing a few dozen protesters and others drawing hundreds and perhaps thousands more.
Politics of any sort runs on money, and the Church has its own politics. That’s a given.
The scandal — and it is scandalous — is that Catholic bishops are reported to be using monies raised from the faithful as part of Lenten almsgiving to put pressure on other bishops to accede to gay rights. I have said repeatedly — and I meant it — that I have no problem with homosexual priests. However, I have a major problem with insincere priests who do not hold an authentic faith in and followership of Christ.
It makes no difference to me if the priest is homosexual or straight. But they must be priests first.
I hope more details about this emerge quickly. If the Swiss bishops are mis-using alms in this manner, they need to be brought to heel. If they are truly engaging with outside groups to pressure other bishops to accede to external, secular, political agendas that run counter to Church teaching, that needs to stop, as well.
We need leadership in these times. This has the earmarks of self-serving misuse of power and mis-appropriation of funds that violates the trust of those who have given money to the Church. It also raises real questions as to whether the Swiss bishops are following Christ and teaching the Gospels, or attempting to lead the Church away from Him and His Word.
Washington D.C., Aug 21, 2015 / 03:04 am (CNA).- The Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund and a major U.S. foundation have helped fund an LGBT activist project intended to counter West African bishops at the Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family.
The Netherlands-based European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups originally planned to make a documentary film of self-identified LGBT Catholics in Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon.
“Reacting to the extremely negative influence from bishops from Western Africa on the final document of the Family Synod 14, we found it important to bring the voices of LGBT Catholics from this region to broader attention,” the European Forum said in its 2014-2015 activity report.
The forum’s activities report said the project was funded by the Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund Fastenopfer and the Arcus Foundation. The wealthy U.S.-based foundation has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to LGBT activist groups to target the synod.
But Fastenopfer is a Catholic development organization. It traditionally raises its funds during Lenten almsgiving. Its Italian-language name is Sacrificio Quaresimale, which means “Lenten Sacrifice.”
Bishop Felix Gmur of Basel, Switzerland is president of the Lenten fund’s foundation council, which oversees the NGO’s directors group. Two of the nine members of the foundation council are named by the Conference of Swiss Bishops, with the rest being named by a separate body.
My colleague Tom McDonald posted a story about another atrocity against Christians at the hands of ISIS. Everywhere, all over the world including here in the USA, Satan is on the move.
From God and the Machine:
In 284 St. Elian, a physician, refused to renounce Christianity and was killed by his father. The site of his death in Homs, Syria soon became a locus of miracles and devotion, and a Church was was raised there in the late 5th century. A stone sarcophagus was built in side chapel to house his remains. A monastery grew at the location.
Some time this month, all of that history and devotion was ground into dust by barbarians. ISIS has released photos (and possibly a video, though I haven’t been able to find it) that show them destroying the site. They allegedly smashed their way into St. Elian’s tomb, then brought in heavy machinery to do the rest.
There are pictures circulating showing uncovered bones. Some are saying these are the bones of St. Elian, but I don’t think they are. It’s unclear at this moment what became of St. Elian’s remains, but from the reports I’m reading it appears that the entire site was bulldozed. That would include the tomb, the church, the remains, and the frescos uncovered during restorations:
Something has happened to my brain.
Twice now, yesterday and today, I’ve sat down to write … and could not formulate a thought. It’s stress, I think. And lack of sleep, I think. And being overwhelmed, I think.
It’s understandable, I tell myself. It will pass. I believe that and don’t worry about it. I know it’s just part of this process.
But … sheesh … I have the blankest of blank minds. It’s almost as if I’m not fully in touch with myself, or as if part of me is asleep, even when I’m awake.
Mama is — almost miraculously — doing better. She was able to go to adult day care all day yesterday. And she drove them crazy with her repeat questions while she was there. Then, last night, she sat at the table and ate supper, and by that I mean, she actually ate. It’s wasn’t a feast, but she managed a chicken leg and a helping of mashed potatoes. Then, of course, she raided the fridge for ice cream.
Mama was back.
Nobody, including me, expected her to ever be this good again. Mama is oblivious to all the stress, but I’m worn slick from it. I feel like I’ve been to the brink and back and I no longer know where I am. The hospice nurse told me to enjoy the good days. I didn’t do that yesterday. In fact, I spent the day expecting her to crack like an egg at any moment. I also did a good bit of feeling sorry for myself.
I need to take the nurse’ advice and enjoy these good days. Who knows how many of them we have left? I prayed last night — a lot — and, as usual after I pray, I feel better.
But the blank mindedness continues. That’s why I’m writing a diary today instead of a post about world events. I find that world events don’t interest me much right now. I hear the latest shenanigans in Congress, and, given my long time in politics, I see through them immediately. But I don’t much care.
I’m more focused on simpler things, like the fact that the oil in my car needs changing and I have to unload the dishwasher and put the sheets in the dryer. Stupid as it sounds, that’s where my mind is.
I do battle every day with the sick smells in Mama’s room. I wash sheets, empty and wash the portable potty, throw away the used tissues, and get it all clean smelling. It’s a stalemate, this war between the sad scents of urine and decay and me, but I’m fighting the fight on a daily basis.
I went to the doctor myself yesterday. Nothing serious, but I had to be very firm get away long enough to do it. What surprised me is that going to the doc felt like an outing. My life has become narrow indeed when taking myself to the doctor feels like recreation.
One odd thing that has happened is that Mama has started calling me “Mama.” It happened the first time when she was so near the edge a few days back. I did something for her, I forget what, and she said, “Thank you Mommy.”
During the day, she knows who I am, but now, late at night, when get up to take care of her, she often calls me “Mama” or “Mommy.” It doesn’t bother me when she does that. In fact, I find it touching.
It is, after all the truth of our situation.
Mama seems better the past couple of days, but she is hallucinating, which means no sleep for me.
I’m sorry I’ve been so slow to come back to blogging. I’ve been going minute-by-minute on Mama care, and when I get a moment, I usually crash.
I did take a few minutes to write this post about Lord Carey’s advocacy for euthanasia, as well as one of the tougher moments I’ve had with Mama since I brought her home from the hospital.
I’m asking for prayers all around, my friends. Pray for me, as I find that the exhaustion is undermanning me seriously. Prayers for Mama. And prayers for our world that is so in love with the culture of death.
I’m going to do my best to blog more this week. But if I can’t, know that you are in my prayers.
From the National Catholic Register:
Mama slipped through my hands.
It was as if her bones were strands of boiled spaghetti, as if she was liquid rather than solid.
I fought the fall all the way down.
She landed in a sprawl against the oxygen machine, her head wedged between it and the portable potty. “Ohhhhh,” she moaned. I tried to lift her, but those spaghetti bones and her little bit of weight were too much for me.
The master bedroom, where my husband was, is all the way across the house from where Mama and me. I yelled for him to come help me. Yelled again and again. Yelled so loudly that my throat strained.
He didn’t hear me.
I left her there and ran to the master bedroom, yelling his name as I went.
He was able to lift her from the floor, and back onto the bed. Meanwhile, I collapsed on the small sofa at the foot of her bed. Throughout the last week, from her first collapse into unconsciousness on Tuesday night, all through that long night in the ER, and then through her rousal the next day and lapse back into deep sleep from which she could not be awakened … a sleep that lasted for four days … I never cried a tear. I couldn’t cry. My eyes were dry and I just kept going, one foot in front of the other foot.
But when my husband lifted Mama from the floor and put her back on her bed, I sank onto the sofa at the foot of her bed and broke into great, gasping sobs. I cried until the muscles in my chest hurt from the exhaustion of the sobbing.
Meanwhile, Mama, half conscious, kept mumbling something. I got up and sat on the bed beside her, but I still couldn’t make out what she was saying. I leaned forward until my ear was almost touching her lips.
“It wasn’t your fault,” she said.
Mama is scheduled to come home from the hospital today. It’s a new reality. Most of what she could do before last week, she can no longer do.
I’ve enlisted the help of hospice, and they’ve already been great. They brought over a hospital bed, oxygen, and all sorts of helpful equipment. But I am concerned about my physical ability to do the lifting and such. I’m asking for your prayers.
In the meantime, I wrote this post for the National Catholic Register about the need to pray for those we would like to hate. I’m talking about pro choice politicians, in particular those who voted against the attempt to defund Planned Parenthood last week.
We can lose our souls while we’re trying to serve God if we become instruments of hate instead of love. Scripture tells us that God is love. So, if we do not love, including those we feel are the most unlovable, then we have no part in Him.
Remember that Jesus is God, and He showed us a new and history-changing dynamic. Jesus died for us, and we are not the least bit lovable by the yardstick we use to judge others. We are, if we will admit it, full of angers, petty grudges, lies, selfishness and greed. That is the best of us, those who do not commit the wrongs we read about on the internet or see on the news.
But He died for us. He came down from heaven and became human, with all its aches and pains, loneliness and hardship, and He did it for us.
That is an example of loving someone who doesn’t deserve it that goes beyond our understanding or capacity for understanding. We can try to approach it by thinking on the wholly human side of Jesus, that part of Him that understands us because He consented to be one of us. But we can not begin to understand what it meant to give up heaven, to go from being God to become a helpless baby and on through dying as a criminal, hanging on a cross.
We can’t comprehend that, but we can know that it calls us to more than just genuflecting and crossing ourselves and the showy stuff of empty piety. It calls us to emulate this divine love as best we can when we are given the opportunity.
Jesus told us without any equivocation to go out into the world and teach what He taught, to convert sinners and baptize them in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This was His commission to us. The mission statement for all of Christianity, everywhere.
He also told us to pray for those Who hurt us. Then He modeled that for us from the cross.
I applied that commandment from Our Lord directly to the political situation we are facing now. Here’s what I said.
I was once one of them. The pro-aborts, I mean.
After my conversion, when I began to understand that abortion was wrong and, worse for me at that time, when I felt the Holy Spirit calling me to change, the major obstacle for me was pro-life people. I had been the Oklahoma Director of NARAL. I had been a pro-choice legislator who used my position to kill pro-life legislation.
I had made speeches, organized and worked for abortion rights with all my little heart. I was as sincere and committed in my pro-choice advocacy as anyone could be. Pro-life people in Oklahoma counted me as the enemy. And they came after me.
The trouble was, they made it into a personal fight against me instead of advocacy for the babies. Instead of speaking for the humanity of the unborn, they tried to hate me to death. They said I was a communist, a prostitute, a lesbian, a whore and a slut. They claimed all sorts of political positions for me that I did not hold, and that ultimately were proven lies by my actions.
These lies hurt me as a person and as a woman. They wounded me, and they hardened me in my pro-choice resolve. They also enraged people who know me and who knew full well that the pro-life people were telling creepy, hate-filled, low-life lies about me. What they did not do was convert anyone to the pro-life cause. To the contrary, they tempered all of us into pro-choice steel.
After my conversion, when the Holy Spirit began urging me to change on abortion, I was reluctant and fearful precisely because I didn’t know one single pro-life person who I thought was sane, much less trustworthy and nice. If God had asked me to jump into an active volcano, I could not have found it more dreadful.
I believe this same dynamic is at work with pro-choice politicians today.
My mother is still in the hospital, so no blogs. I’ll be back as soon as I can.
My mother is in the hospital and things are kind of rocky. If Mama’s health improves, I’ll be back Monday.
I can’t blog today. Family stuff. I’ll be back as soon as I can. Rebecca
Caring for an old person is a little bit like driving a car with 300,000 miles on it. You never know when it’s going to break down, or in what weird way it will do it.
Last night was an example of this. Mama passed out on us in a 3-2-1-lights-out sort of way, and then she stayed passed out. My oldest son and I spent hours in the er beside her bed while she was off wherever it was that she’d gone and the medical staff tried to figure out what was happening.
Then this morning, she woke up like an old car that wouldn’t start yesterday but today kicks over as if nothing had happened. She’s still in the hospital, and I’m glad to have her there. She needs the care, and we need the help.
I wrote about it for the National Catholic Register. Here’s a bit of what I said:
Old people — and by that I mean very old people — are funny.
They’re not funny in the sense of laughs. They’re funny in the sense that you never know from one moment to the next what’s going to happen.
Caring for a two-year-old is a piece of the proverbial cake compared to caring for a 90-year-old with dementia. My family and I have been doing our best to care for my 90-year-old-two-year-old for years now.
Her dementia started when she was in her high 80s. It was a late-comer to the aging party, but once it arrived, it went through her brain like a laser, cutting away pieces with every pass. Dementia never stops taking. It is an aggressive and remorseless beast that slowly, but inevitably, lops off chunks of the person you love.
Mama is my baby now, complete with diapers and the sudden medical crises that go along with the physical declines of extreme age. A 90-year-old going on eternity can slide straight down from doin’fine and being a pest to the brink of forever in one, breath-taking step.
Consider last night.
What we had was Mama, prattling along with her nonsensical word-salad talk-talking while changing into her night gown. With no warning, she stopped talking and slumped forward.
This is the latest video by Center for Medical Progress.
I found two videos, one edited and another unedited version of a second situation. The second video talks about public reaction and says that “this is the first step in stem cell research,” meaning embryonic stem cell research.
I can tell you from personal experience that the medical establishment has been highly successful in using business interests to shut down legislation banning embryonic stem cell research. Sad to say, Republican leadership and a good bit of pro life advocacy leadership cooperates with them in this by actually killing pro life legislation. This is all done in back rooms, without the public knowing about it. The press never covers it, and even if they did, they wouldn’t understand it.
Living in this environment was one of the most painful things I’ve experienced as a legislator. I’ve experienced more than a bit of that again, with the votes in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood. I know too much, and that can be hard to bear.
For that reason, I’m going to take the rest of today for prayer. I need time with God.
The Associated Press has published a list of the members of the United States Senate and how they voted in today’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.
The vote was not a vote on the bill. It was a vote on a motion for cloture. Cloture would have limited debate and stopped the potential for a filibuster. Cloture needs 60 votes.
According to the Associated Press story, the final breakdown was 2 Democrats and 51 Republicans voting “yes,” and 42 Democrats, 2 Republicans and both Independents voting “no.” The “nos” carried, which effectively killed consideration of the bill.
To see the Associated Press vote tally and how your senator voted, go to ABC News.
Today’s United States Senate vote on defunding Planned Parenthood fell 7 votes short.
Sixty votes were needed to pass cloture, which would have cut off a filibuster. The final vote on cloture was 53-46. Congressional Republicans vow to fight on throughout the rest of the session. One idea that is being floated is to attach an amendment to the budget bill. This action would most likely result in a shut-down of government.
The Senate has not posted the roll call on this vote yet. When they do, I’ll post it for you.
From The Washington Post:
Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a Republican-backed effort to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood following the release of undercover videos raising questions about its practice of harvesting tissue for research from aborted fetuses.
The procedural vote on a bill that would immediately halt funding to the group fell short of the 60 needed to proceed. Democrats vowed to filibuster the bill, and Republicans were unable to peel off enough support to counter it. The final tally was 53-46.
But GOP leaders have made defunding Planned Parenthood a centerpiece of their agenda going into the summer congressional recess, and some Republicans have said they are willing to force a government shutdown in October if federal support to the group is not severed.
We won one.
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has granted a permanent injunction against the United States government in the matter of its attempt to force Tyndale Publishers to abide by the HHS Mandate. In other words, the court ruled that attempts to force Tyndale to abide by the HHS Mandate had previously been ruled Unconstitutional in the Hobby Lobby decision.
The reason for this is that Tyndale is a for-profit corporation, as opposed to the Little Sisters of the Poor, which is a non-profit. The Hobby Lobby decision addressed for-profits.
This allowed the Obama Administration to issue a new set of guidelines, forcing the nuns to abide by the HHS Mandate. It also forces the Little Sisters to take their case to the Supreme Court.
In the meantime, I wonder why, given the Hobby Lobby case, the government didn’t just drop its case against Tyndale. Why was the publisher forced to seek this injunction? The Obama administration seems determined to try to force Christian employers to violate their faiths, up to and including forcing them to take their individual cases to court to claim their rights.